1960s? Postcard

1960s Manitou Incline Cable Car

I found this postcard of the Manitou Incline cable car a little below the top. In it you can see the pulleys in the center of the tracks for the cables. Click for a larger image to see the pulleys better.

On the back the text says, “The thrilling mile and a quarter ride on the Mt. Manitou Incline affords passengers with superb panoramic views: Manitou Springs nestled in the valley below, Garden of the Gods, and an unending expanse of the Great Plains.”

It doesn’t have any date on it. My initial thought was that it was from the 70s because of the color and the way the guy is dressed. Then I noticed that the US Highway 24 Bypass wasn’t build yet. It was built in the late 1960s so the photo has to at least before that.

3 Responses to “1960s? Postcard”

  1. BOB DRIVER says:

    During the summer of 1977 and 1978, I was the Operating Engineer on the Incline and lived in a cabin on top of the mountain.

    Having an intimate knowledge of how the Tram worked, the first thing I noticed was absence of the “communications line” that ran up the track to what would be the right side of this photograph.

    It consisted of three strands of bare wire that were mounted to t-post that were made of actual rail. The two outer lines were for the “phone” that ran from the ticket office below to the powerhouse at the top. This was an army-type crank field phone and was used to give the “all clear” to start the train by the ticket Agent at the lower station. The Conductors also carried a “field phone” in the cars in case of a breakdown in order to be able to communicate with both the power house and the lower station in the case of an emergency. The third (inside line) was hooked to a large bell mounted in the power house. The circuit was rigged to operate as a ground. There was a long pole with a large copper loop on the end with a wire that was attached to the car. The Conductor had to reach out with the pole and touch the inner wire. It would then complete the ground circuit and ring the bell to signal “EMERGENCY STOP” to the Engineer.

    I was told that system was installed in the early 50′s.

    In the center on the back of the car, you will notice a long lever. That was the Conductor’s “emergency brake”. If the Conductor pulled that lever, it operated a mechanism that clamped down on the “emergency cable” that actually was routed underneath the car. The problem would come if it was activated on the “down hill car” in that the hoist mechanism would continue to play out the cable until you signaled the Engineer “emergency stop” with the “stop wand” and you would have the slack in 1 1/2″ haul cable splayed out all over the track.

    Lot’s of trivia, but to answer your question, early 50′s

  2. This is wonderful information from Bob Driver, on the Manitou Incline. Often we hear of people not frequenting the “touristy” things in their own area. Not so with the Incline–We lived right in town, and rode it all the time, until moving away in 1974.

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